SSDN Holds Successful Inaugural Working Groups Members Meeting

IMG_5189 (2)The Sunshine State Digital Network recently held a successful in-person meeting of members of their three newly formed working groups.  Members from the metadata, outreach, and training working groups gathered at the Robert W. Saunders Sr. library branch of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library in Tampa, Florida on Friday, March 9, 2018. After a warm welcome from library director, Andrew Breidenbaugh, attendees received updates from SSDN implementation team members about the progress of the network, goals for the upcoming year, and updates about the DPLA. 

Highlights included:

  • SSDN became a real thing in 2017!
  • SSDN joined the DPLA Hub Member Network (Thanks Division of Library and Information Services!)
  • Florida institutions have contributed over 94,000 records to DPLA in our first two harvests since November 2017
  • Goals for 2018 include:
    • Establishing governance
    • Creating a sustainability plan
    • Adding 100,000 new records to DPLA
    • Adding 5 new content partners
    • Creating documentation and training for Florida institutions
    • Continue to spread the word about DPLA and SSDN
  • The launch of DPLA’s newly redesigned website
  • The creation of 21 new DPLA primary source sets (including 1 featuring SSDN content)

You can view the full slide deck here:


After getting up to speed on network activities, members gathered into small groups to explore DPLA content related to Florida and create their own theoretical exhibits. Many attendees had not explored DPLA much before this activity and we wanted to be able to show them what it was like on the user’s end. One group in particular focused on learning how to explore DPLA content using the DPLA API. The API allows for more flexible searching and sorting than the interface and can be fairly simple to use. During the activity, participants were asked to think about the items they were finding, what surprised them about their results, how could their collections fill some gaps related to certain topics or enhance what was already there? As librarians, we also focused on the records themselves, how the objects were being described, what information was useful, what information was missing? Upon reconvening after 30 minutes of searching and curating our exhibits we held a lively and constructive discussion with the group about their experience, how we can think about our own metadata practices, and how to share this resource with our communities.

You can try this activity on your own or with some colleagues here:


The group then broke up into their working groups for a tasty working lunch where working members could get to know each other and help put faces to names after having met in virtual meetings at the beginning of the year. The groups got to work discussing outcomes, timelines, and collaborations with the other working groups for the year. The metadata working group will be focusing on developing guidelines and documentation for institutions to follow when preparing their metadata for inclusion in DPLA. They will be working closely with the training working group, who will be using these guidelines and other resources to develop various training materials and workshops. The training working group is focused on assessing training needs to ensure that the training they are developing is what our future partners need for successful collaboration with SSDN. And finally, the outreach working group will be working with everyone around the state to get the word out about SSDN, training opportunities, events, and developing relationships with partners around the state of Florida. They will be focused on branding, social media strategies, and creating informative materials to ensure that people from different types of organizations understand how they can play a role in the SSDN.

We are so excited about the possibilities that were discussed during the meeting and we will be sharing updates throughout the year about our progress as a network. Sharing Florida’s rich cultural heritage through the Digital Public Library of America will include our stories in the national narrative. Our hope is that this effort will form lasting partnerships around the state that will enrich the digital library landscape of Florida and allow for greater support for learning, research, tourism, business, and other endeavors by showcasing Florida’s rich heritage to a worldwide audience.


We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the hardworking people around the state of Florida who volunteered to serve on our working groups. We appreciate your enthusiasm for this new effort and we look forward to the wonderful things to come from our work together. We would also like to acknowledge the generous grant from the Knight Foundation with which we were able to support travel for 20 attendees.


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